Gareth’s Diary

I swear my life is a Bridget Jones movie… The most embarrassing things happen at the most unexpected times and in the most awkward places. This is precisely the reason why I feel that I must keep a clean slate with Karma because miss thing can’t wait to strike on me.

Here’s the scene, it’s 25 December 2018, Christmas morning. I’m dressed for church ready to leave the house and my mother tells me “our clothes are starting to fit tighter and tighter everyday hey” (note to self: Listen to your mother) I ignored her because I know I’ve gained weight and that all my clothes are sitting a bit snug. Its a sensitive subject for me.

I decided to wear a suit I bought about 6 months earlier and I only wore it once before but I love it because it has a floral print and it just felt festive and appropriate for Christmas day.

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I may look confident but deep down I’m worried that someone might see my underwear.

I get to church and a few people compliment me on my suit and I’m feeling good. As the congregation sits down after singing the second hymn, I hear a rip and my heart sinks to the pit of my stomach. I’m having flashbacks as I’m typing this. It was my pants’ letting me know that I’m no longer a size 28. My pants tore all along the seam from the crotch almost all the way. Now I’m panicking thinking of every possible way to escape the situation without being literally exposed. I was flustered, feeling hot and cold at the same time building a light sweat like I had the flu or something.

I sneaked my hand underneath myself to feel how bad the damage was so that I can gauge whether I can hide it and if it will be visible or not. I shouldn’t have done that because at that point the panic was heightened. It was bad!!! It felt like my whole bum was exposed and in classic Bridget Jones fashion I was wearing underwear with a cherry on which would just add to my embarrassment. I really am the king of playing myself.

In that moment I was going through all the scenarios in my head and none of them lead to me not being embarrassed so I just gave up and let it be. When the sermon ended and It was time for communion I had to walk all the way to the front with my broken pants. I was stressed. I was walking to the front of the hall pulling my suit jacket down even leaning slightly back as I walked. It seemed as though no one else noticed.

When the service ended and everyone else was leaving my friend walks up to me and my first words were “We can’t leave now. My pants tore and everyone is going to see my cherries.” She burst out laughing and we sat there joking about my broken pants until most people had left the hall. If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at, right? When we got up, she checked to see whether it was visible but assured me that she could not see it but I was still conscious about it.

That’s how I was quickly humbled and reminded that I’m not skinny anymore. Ever since then I’ve been extra careful when sitting down to avoid another incident. Some of my favourite items of clothing are just too small now and its absolutely heart breaking. I received a message straight from the top, on Christmas of all days that I need to stop being lazy and do something about my weight gain. Wish me luck!!!

Thanks for laughing with me.

My grown up Christmas list.

Walking through malls the past few weeks have been somewhat of a rude awakening. Its only October but there are Santa hats, reindeer and Christmas trimmings everywhere you turn. Seems like Christmas is coming sooner every year. Christmas is 2 months away but we’re already being manipulated to spend our money and buy gifts so I started thinking about what I would like to find under the tree this Christmas. Since I’m a little too old to sit on Santa’s lap I thought I’d make a list. Here goes…

Dear Santa,

I hope this letter finds you in time. I thought I’d take some of the guessing out of your hands and give you an idea of what to bring me for Christmas.

1. Sneakers
I have a couple that I really like but I can’t afford or I just can’t seem to find the right one in stores. I’m hoping Saint Nick will do me a solid. Mariah Carey sang it best, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS SHOOOOOOOEEESSS.

Yeezy 500

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Nike VaporMax

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ZX 500 RM Son Goku

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One pair is enough I wouldn’t expect you to bring me all three.

2. Fragrance
My favourite perfume is almost finished Santa, and I need a new bottle so that would be highly appreciated.
Acqua di Gio

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3. Tailored suit
I’ve gained some unfortunate weight over the past few months that I can’t seem to shake. Santa, if you’re there, I’d like a brand-new suit or a summer body PLEASE!!

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4. Cellphone
Samsung Note 9
Now Santa, I don’t even think I need to motivate why I deserve this.

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5. Gift card
So, Santa if you’re not sure what to get me because I’ve been such a good boy this year, I won’t be disappointed if you just leave me a gift card under the tree. I’ll know what to get myself and I would appreciate it just as much.

I would add my Superbalist wishlist but I don’t want to break tradition.

I hope this list made it somewhat easier for you.

Sincerely,

Gareth.

What to wear when you don’t know what to wear.

For the not so fashionable among us it can be a very daunting task when it comes to matching colours together while picking out an outfit. Let’s not even talk about prints. Its Spring time and its time for bright colours and bold prints but you might have some hesitation because you’re scared that what you put together will clash. I’ve been there I’ve spent many an evening racking my brain about what I want to wear to work in the morning. Often concluding that I have nothing to wear. I hate looking boring and wearing the same outfit twice. I always try to mix it up. I never want to look like I’m wearing a uniform. You know some of your colleagues will wear one pair of pants with a specific shirt every time as if it’s a set and they can only wear those two items together. That is what I’m talking about.

We’ve seen many fashion risk takers lately. People mix patterns and colours you’d never expect and somehow manage to still look cool. The rest of us that aren’t as bold know that we’ll end up looking like fools. So, what are we to do?

I would suggest to just keep doing what you’re doing. Most of us stick to neutral colours like black, grey and white, maybe even brown and navy blue. These colours normally match well with any other colour making it easy. I usually stick to black pants or blue jeans and then add colour somewhere else in my outfit. So, Id suggest keeping the most part of the outfit neutral and then adding one item of colour that pops. If you want to add more colour wear something that’s a shade darker or lighter than the one you’re trying so that they don’t clash. The same goes for prints. I normally look at the different colours in the print itself, choose one and that’s what I match the rest of my outfit with. I try to wear at least 3 colours at a time just to make it a bit more interesting.

If you’re confused here’s a list of staples I rely on for when I don’t know what to wear.

You can never go wrong with a pair of chinos they always save the day. I have them in different colours and shades. Jeans in dark blue, light blue and black give you some variety when it comes to casual wear. Plain white shirts are timeless so they don’t have time to clash with anything in your closet. A denim jacket is essential for me it compliments any outfit. Lastly plain white, grey, or black t-shirts are an outfit saviour on those confusing days for me. Then lastly I LOVE brown leather or suede shoes whether its sneakers or formal shoes. As the song says these are just a few of my favourite things. In another post Ill share some of my outrageous or shall I say risky fashion choices

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Neutral black and white and then I opted for a maroon bomber jacket and brown shoes.
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Neutral black and olive green an then opted for a shirt with a print and again brown shoes.
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I think I was wearing a denim jacket this day (not seen here) but you can never go wrong with denim. Oh, look brown shoes.

As you can see I do have a signature (uniform) style. Sigh…

Lets get packing.

Spring is drawing to a close and the summer months are approaching and we’ve all made plans for the coming holidays. We’ve made plans with our family and friends to take some time off and escape from our everyday lives. We book our accommodation weeks or months in advance once we’ve all managed to decide on where and when we can all go. To me going on holiday usually means a road trip.

A problem that I regularly encounter when going on a road trip is being considerate of my travelling mates when it comes to the space in the boot. I can never make up my mind about what I want to wear. I always pack more clothes than I need. To me its all about the looks. If you think Im going on holiday to relax you are sadly mistaken. I want to go and explore the place Im visiting and I want to look fly while doing so. Going on holiday is an opportunity to make new memories with your family or friends. Let me also be real with you Im thinking about social media. Im not about to post up on social media looking ashy. Im gonna give the people what they want. Your friends stuck at work wants to experience your holiday with you. So your outfits need to be popping. I usually pack so that I have at least two options for each day of the holiday. Which can be a bit problematic if you are travelling with more than 2 people.

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Family trip to Mosselbay in 2017. As you can see I didn’t go to swim.
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The Point Beach in Mosselbay.
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Enjoying a sunset in Langebaan.

This blog is more self-help than it is giving advice. I decided to look at ways to minimize my luggage when going on holiday. So lets start with clothing. Your travel day outfit should be part of your holiday fashion. Try to reduce your luggage by wearing some of the heavier items that would take up a lot of space in your bag. Like a light jacket because even in Summer the evenings can get quite chilly sometimes and you want to be prepared. Pack your flip-flops in your bag and wear your shoes on the trip. Try to wear your jeans on the trip as well and put the shorts in the bag. This will save some space as well. If possible try to get everything into one bag. The boot of a car isn’t very big and we sometimes travel with up to five people and you don’t want to start your holiday off fighting about boot space.

Something else you can do is try to find out what the weather is going to be like while you’re there so that you can pack accordingly. This will save you from having to pack a summer and a winter outfit for each day. Think about packing transitional pieces. Something that’s suitable to wear for the day’s activities but will also work for dinner at a nice restaurant. This will minimise your packing. Think about packing a capsule wardrobe. A few functional items of clothing that complement each other. That means if you’re going away for a three-day weekend you can wear one pair of pants and pack in another pair and just alternate between the two and both are suitable to wear with the shirts you are planning to wear. Think about the functionality of certain items. Try to make the jacket you wear for your travel day outfit something that can transition from day to night time activities. This way you do not need to pack another for that purpose.

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Travel day outfit for my recent trip to Hermanus. Stylish, comfortable and functional.

Besides necessities you also need some gadgets to make the trip smoother. We’ve grown accustomed to our devices that we use everyday that we cannot just leave them behind. If you like to read you might want to take a book with you, ebooks don’t take up any space at all. Other things like mobile Wi-Fi and portable chargers have become essential parts of our daily lives so don’t forget to pack them. You don’t want to spend money on buying a new one while you’re there. If you want to get away from the crowd for a while take some headphones with you to listen to music.

When you’re done packing you can load up the car and set out on your road trip. Make sure you have some smooth tunes on the radio to distract yourself and your family/friends from the fatigue of being cooped up in the car for long periods of time and some snacks to keep everyone refreshed and make the journey just as enjoyable.

How to rock the latest trends.

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To many guys fashion and style might seem like a very exclusive thing. I’ve heard it many times “I dOn’T hAvE sTyLe, I’m NoT iNtO fAsHiOn”. That’s weird to me because everyday you make style choices that are influenced by what fashion dictates. I guess what they mean to say is that they aren’t clued up on the latest trends or they might not know what’s cool right now but they don’t have the confidence to put it on. It could also be that when they do try out some trends they just don’t like the way it looks. The other side of the coin may be that they have all the newest and trendiest things but it just doesn’t work well when they wear it.

New trends are always a bit strange at first and you might be a bit apprehensive to try it out yourself. You will see the influencers wearing it and you’ll say to yourself nah that will never work on me. Then eventually you’ll start seeing it popping up everywhere on social media and you become more comfortable with it until it becomes the norm. By the time everyone is wearing the trend it’s no longer trendy and there’s something new. It’s quite difficult to keep up.

I used to be very scared to try out trends. I always thought I wasn’t cool enough and I was afraid Id look like a fool. I used to try to wear things that didn’t stand out too much. I tried to wear what I saw everybody else wearing and dress like the people around me but when I looked back at the photos I didn’t like the way it looked on me. The problem was that all trends don’t work for everyone. A good example at the moment is cropped pants. I really like the trend I think it looks super cool but it just doesn’t work on me. I’m just too short. Cropped pants in my size just looks like normal pants and that’s not the trend so I’m giving that one a skip although I really like it. Another thing I can’t pull off is the oversized trend. Again I’m too short and I’m skinny-fat so it just looks sloppy instead of cool on me. I swear tall people really won the style lottery. I’ve also been avoiding slides because I feel like they don’t suit my aesthetic even though I like how they look on other people. The dad sneaker is another trend that’s growing on me but I feel like I wont be able to pull off. Its chunky and they make your feet look big which doesn’t go well with my small frame.

So now you want to venture outside of your comfort zone and you’re wondering, what is the secret to rocking the latest trends and looking your best. Firstly and most importantly you need to like what you’re wearing. You cannot just follow a trend for the sake of looking cool. If you like what you’re wearing you’ll feel confident in it and confidence is always a good look. Secondly make sure your clothes fit. Haha, I know, its sounds like that should be a given but clothing that’s too big or too small is unflattering. Lastly I feel Nike says it best “Just do it”. That’s what I always do. It’s a risk but if you don’t try it you’ll never know.

Thanks for reading this blog.

Colour me obsessed

When I go shopping, I don’t always buy something and its not always that I go shopping for something specific. Sometimes I just go into a store walk around and see what they have. If I see something I like I would buy it. There are certain things that always catches my eye when I go shopping. Id call it an obsession by now.

Whenever I see a nice denim shirt you can hear an audible gasp escape my mouth. I probably have about 10 denim shirts already. I cant explain it myself. I think I might be drawn to the colour because blue is my favourite colour or it might be the texture that attracts me. Ironically you would rarely see me wearing one of them. Truth be told I’m more of a t-shirt kinda guy. I don’t often wear shirts casually. But I cannot resist buying a really nice denim shirt. Especially if I find it in my size.

Another one of these obsessions are accessories. I’m talking rings, armbands, chains and sunglasses. I have a box full of those beaded armbands because I would buy them because I liked one of the bands in the bunch. Shades are another thing I can’t pass by in the store. If I see a pair I like I must try them on and if they fit me and they suit my face I simply cannot leave them behind. I’ve scaled down a lot on buying accessories over the last year I guess I’m moving out of that phase in my life now.

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My tie collection has grown a lot since this picture was taken in 2016.

Ties are another one that’s a major obsession for me. I’ve lost count on how may ties I have. This one I can actually explain. I go to a church with a very rigid structure especially when it comes to dress code. So, I must wear a suit and tie when I go to church. You can wear chinos and a blazer if you choose but I’ve chosen to wear a full suit for the past few years.

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When it comes to style I’m a peacock. I like standing out and there’s not much you can do with a suit besides wearing a nice shirt and tie. At first, I used to wear lots of colourful and printed shirts but when I started teaching and my church shirts became work shirts. I started wearing mainly white shirts to church because when I wore white shirts to school I would get confused for one of the learners sometimes even by my colleagues and I taught at a primary school!! So now its all up to the tie to make the look. I have them in all colours, textures and prints. They can give life to the most boring suit. I am also one of those people that hates to repeat an outfit exactly the same way I wore it previously and a different tie changes the look completely.

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Just add a lapel pin and/or pocket square and you look completely different in the same suit.

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Feeling myself in my favourite tie this past Sunday.

My favourite tie would have to be the maroon tie I wore to my first graduation. Its possibly one of the best nights of my life and I can still recall that feeling whenever I wear it. When I wear it I feel handsome, important and powerful like James Bond.

I think Ill continue collecting ties. I just cant stop myself when I see one that I love.

Self-Care

In my very first blog, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!, I stated that when you look good you feel good but, in this blog, I’m going to focus on that feeling that we are all chasing. Its different for everyone. It would be very naive of me to assume that throwing on your favourite t-shirt could be the solution to all your problems. What I meant by that was throwing on your favourite t-shirt helps. It makes you feel slightly better in the midst of whatever struggle you may have at the moment.

That brings me to the topic of self-care. Self-care is something my friends and I joke about when we do selfish things or spend a lot of money on things we really don’t need but it makes us feel good. So, let’s talk about it. I’m not a psychologist or an expert on the workings of the human mind or behaviour. So, I can only refer to my own experiences. I went through a rough patch the past few years. I wasn’t paying attention to myself. I stopped doing the things I loved not on purpose but because I did not have the time or energy for it. I love reading books and magazines but in the five years that I was working I only read 3 books from start to finish. I would buy 3 magazines every month Destiny Man, Men’s Health Magazine and GQ. I stopped buying them this year because for almost a year the books never came out of the plastic packaging I bought them in. I started journaling when I started working because it was an outlet for me and a way for me to express my feelings purely without fear of being judged and I’m not really good at talking about how I feel I usually eat my feelings. At some point I stopped writing in my journal. I used to write poems when I was in high school. I don’t even know where my book of poems is. I loved dressing up for work and by now you should know I love fashion. When I started working I wore a tie and a blazer to work every day. Near to the end I was literally just throwing on anything that was clean. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often as I would like because they live in Cape town and they also lead busy lives.

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These 3 books I bought while I was working but never got around to reading. The September issues of my favourite magazines were a joy to read. My journal is my solace. 

The saying goes you cannot pour from an empty cup. So, I decided to fill my cup. I quit my job as a teacher to pursue my aspirations of being a writer. That’s why I started this blog. You can say that this blog is a form of self-care for me because it combines so many of the things that I love. I started journaling again. It’s a great way to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. I love singing and listening to music and for a while the sound of music annoyed me and I stopped singing. I think the first album for 2018 that I listened to was Everything Is Love by The Carters. The joy of singing still hasn’t returned to me. I’ve started reading magazines again so I’m back on track with all the latest trends. I like going out and spending time with my friends. I’m really at my happiest when I’m around them. I went on holiday with my family to Hermanus recently. I LOVE the beach. Its my happy place. The sound of the wind and the crashing of the waves always leaves me with a sense of calm that’s why I enjoyed it so much. At night while I laid in bed I could hear the ocean. I get my hair cut every 2 weeks and I go for mani/pedis once a month and I also indulge in a bit of shopping every now and then.

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Taking in the beauty of the ocean in Hermanus.

All these things are material and they aren’t necessities. But without them I became an empty shell. If I look at pictures of myself from a year ago or even a few months ago I can see the sadness in my eyes even though I’m smiling and genuinely enjoying myself in those moments. When I look at recent pictures of myself I can see a difference. You cannot fake happiness and I am truly happy right now. That’s why I started off this blog by saying when you feel good you look good. Now who doesn’t want to look good?

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The ocean really has a calming effect on me.

We need to make time for ourselves, take care of ourselves and do the things we love.

Take care.